SHOPS, pubs and cafes in Great Harwood will be asked to let shoppers spend a penny in the hope of encouraging them to spend their pounds.

A Community Toilet Scheme was launched in response to concerns raised by residents during meetings and in correspondence with councillors.

It will allow visitors to use local businesses’ facilities without making a purchase.

The town’s library and supermarkets all have toilets, but there are no public facilities in the town, leaving shoppers cross-legged and in a hurry to leave.

In a letter to residents, outgoing Great Harwood councillor and area council chair Ciaran Wells said: “Over the next couple of weeks we will be asking shops, pubs and cafes to make their toilets accessible to shoppers in the town by joining our newly launched Community Toilet Scheme and we will be telling you how this initiative is progressing.”

Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “We are all aware that public toilets have been removed in the past because of unsociable use or because they were damaged by vandals. That has been an issue for people who need to use the toilet, so this is about highlighting other facilities.”

Every business that signs up to the scheme will receive a sticker with the words, ‘we support the community toilet scheme, without the need to make a purchase’.

The scheme has been trialled by other councils across the country, and is aimed at keeping shoppers and visitors in the town for longer.

It was launched at an event at theatre and cafe in Churchfield House, which is the first to take part in the scheme.

And letters will also be sent to pubs, cafes, and local businesses asking them to sign up to the loo scheme.

Coun Wells said: “We are really pleased that so many people have come on board to support the community toilet sceme, which means that these venues, during working hours, have toilets available for members of the public to use for free.”